Armenians, Turks and French

Armenians, Turks and French

Giragos KuyumjianOn 20th October 2006 the widely circulated Kuwaiti Al Qabas Arabic daily published an article by well-known Kuwaiti Armenian writer Giragos Kuyumjian.


Below is English translation of the text:


Armenians, Turks and French


By Giragos Kuyumjian


I regretfully wonder the fiery declarations that are nowadays launched by highly ranked Turkish officials , and about the demonstrations that are being organized in front of the French embassy in Turkey and in numerous countries where everybody is denouncing the draft law that has been ratified by the French Parliament to condemn all those denying and doubting in the Armenian genocide executed by the Ottomans during World War One and victimizing 1.5 million Armenians. I stand in wonder – as any person having a minimum knowledge of the modern Middle East and Eastern Europe history would -, whereas the subject under spot is widely known, documented and imprinted in the memory of each and every single person in this part of the world.


I think to myself:  What is wrong with our Turkish neighbors who have created a big fuss around this humanitarian resolution. Instead of reconciling with themselves and following the principle of “admitting one's own fault is a virtue” they are wildly throwing accusations left and right  once the pretext that the genocide did not take place in the first place, and that the issue should not be discussed politically but should rather be referred (with the purpose of dissolving the cause) to historians who would be able to do researches and discussions, also that the number of victims is exaggerated or that the Armenians where the ones who attacked the Turks and not vice versa . And The last trend of accusations says that France itself should examine its bloody colonial history before giving the Turks moral and ethical lessons etc.


In the uproar of the news broadcasted in Arab international channels as well as the ongoing comments, debates  and interviews and in the midst of contradicting analyses brought by these channels, agencies as well as local and world newspapers, I would like to clarify certain matters according to the sequence of accusations in order to avoid any confusion.


Every one knows about the reality of the genocide (except the Turks unfortunately) and no one has any doubt about its occurrence. The matter is not academic but rather political, social, moral and related to the bloodshed and dignity of one and half  million human beings who were considered as Ottoman citizens and whose only fault was their standing as a barrier against the expanding Turanian ambitions policies and their existence on the demarcation lines during the war with the Russians, a territory that was Armenian before the Ottoman invasion. Moreover, why waste time in forming committees to search history for a fact that is obvious and clear as daylight,  and what is the  need  to verify the numbers of victims, plus or minus, whereas who kills a person kills all the humanity (as said in the Holy Quran)?


As for the tactic of broadcasting videotapes showing Turkish victims who were allegedly killed by Armenians, it is a clear accusation  that anyone finds hard to believe. Indeed, it is extremely illogical  that a great empire with a colossal army fighting in Mid-Asia, Europe and North Africa is unable to protect its citizens within its territory knowing that all Armenian men where with the army on the battlefront defending the Turkish territory at that time.


With regards to the Turkish policy of accusing the French Parliament for taking a non-democratic decision (which according to the Turks will undermine the discussion of the issue) and pointing the finger at its colonial past, we can only express our astonishment again , knowing that Turkey itself has recently issued a resolution denouncing any person who mentions “Armenian genocide” in any way whatsoever on the Turkish territory. How does this state dare to blame others for taking a similar decision and ignore the exemplary punishment of the courageous novelist Orhan Pamok who was dragged in courts for just declaring to the Swiss press that it is necessary to admit the killing of one million Armenian by the state? How does this government forget fairly quickly the humiliation that this novelist has endured as we have witnessed on the satellite  channels? By a twist of fate, this writer has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for this year at the same day  that the French Parliament has issued its fair resolution (How generous of You oh God, allowing  time but not overlooking). In this occasion, I would like to congratulate Orhan Pamok for the prize he has been awarded as well as for his great courage and I would like to call on the other Turkish writers and politicians to be endowed with the same sense of honor and nobility.


As for accusing France of having an imperialistic history in Algeria as well as other African countries, while I completely denounce any imperialistic bloody act by any State whatsoever against another State. However, as an observer not acquainted with the details of this issue and as a person not qualified to defend France, I notice the great difference between the two States (France and Turkey) both by their past and their present situation. Indeed, it is impossible to compare between them since the French, as we all know, shelter today millions of Algerians as well as citizens of other previous colonies, offering them a life of dignity and the French citizenship  with all the privileges  that come with it. Moreover, these individuals transfer billions of euros to their countries of origin thus reviving the economies of the recipient countries, and if given the choice between returning to Algeria and staying in France, I think 90% of them would rather prefer staying in their colonists' land due to the higher quality of life they are living and which sometimes reaches the level of pampering. On the other hand, if we consider for the sake of comparison the Turks' treatment of the Armenians or even of the rest of the minorities that are living in turkey today , we clearly notice a great difference as it is very small the number of Armenians who survived and are still living in Turkey. They are desperate , have only limited civil rights and are oppressed, subjected by force  to the national Turkization policy and not able  to express themselves in their mother tongue or reveal their origin ?


As for the current relations between the countries after decades of the end of the colonization: France is still standing by the Algerians and helping them politically and economically both nationally and internationally. This attitude is nothing but honorable. On the other hand, Turkey is treating the Armenians in quite the opposite way, with no sense of neighborhood, friendship or even mere mercy. In fact they are  imposing a complete embargo on international borders, thus cutting the roads to the energy and other supplies and strangling the Armenian economy and people. Moreover, Turkey is refusing to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia unless it accepts the draconian conditions that Turkey is imposing, among which not mentioning or commemorating the massacres, demanding the solution of the conflict with Azerbaijan although Turkey is not a part in the conflict and wagering on humiliating campaign against the Armenian people. What an inappropriate comparison between the French and Turkish attitudes.


I wonder and my heart aches from all this. I wonder together  with all the free people living in civilized societies about the stubbornness of the Turkish system that refuses to take steps towards peace and the settlement of pending issue and be endowed with a sense of nobility as should any State yearning to enter the modern civilized  international system, especially the European Union.


Finally, I will not forget to express my profound gratitude to the French parliament for its brave and great decision . No matter how forceful the resulting disturbances are. “Merci la France!”


For correspondence with Giragos Kuyumjian: [email protected]  


Arabic article: